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Jeju language

The meaning of «jeju language»

Jeju (Korean: 제주어 Jeju-eo, Korean and Jeju: 제줏말 Jejun-mal or 제주말 Jeju-mal[2]), often called Jejueo[3] or Jejuan[4] in English-language scholarship, is a Koreanic language traditionally spoken on Jeju Island, South Korea. While often classified as a divergent Jeju dialect (Korean: 제주방언 Jeju bang'eon) of the Korean language, the variety is referred to as a language in local government and increasingly in both South Korean and foreign academia. Jeju is not mutually intelligible with the mainland dialects of South Korea.

The consonants of Jeju are similar to those of Seoul Korean, but Jeju has a larger and more conservative vowel inventory. Jeju is a head-final, agglutinative, suffixing language like Korean. Nouns are followed by particles that may function as case markers. Verbs inflect for tense, aspect, mood, evidentiality, relative social status, formality, and other grammatical information. Korean and Jeju differ significantly in their verbal paradigms. For instance, the continuative aspect marker of Jeju[5] and the mood or aspect distinction of many Jeju connective suffixes are absent in Korean. While most of the Jeju lexicon is Koreanic, the language preserves many Middle Korean words now lost in Standard Korean. Jeju may also have a Japonic substratum (see Peninsular Japonic).[6]

Jeju was already divergent from Seoul Korean by the fifteenth century, and was unintelligible to mainland Korean visitors by the sixteenth century. The language was severely undermined by the Jeju uprising of 1948, the Korean War, and the modernization of South Korea. All fluent speakers remaining in Jeju Island are now over seventy years old. Most people in Jeju Island now speak a variety of Korean with a Jeju substratum. The language may be somewhat more vigorous in a diaspora community in Osaka, Japan, but even there, younger members of the community speak Japanese. Since 2010, UNESCO has designated the language as critically endangered, the highest level of language endangerment possible. Revitalization efforts are ongoing.[7]

Jeju is closely related to Korean. It was traditionally considered an unusually divergent dialect of Korean, and is still referred to as such by the National Institute of the Korean Language and the South Korean Ministry of Education.[8] While the term "Jeju language" (Korean: 제주어, Jeju-eo) was first used in 1947, it was not until the mid-1990s that the term gained currency in South Korean academia. While "Jeju dialect" was still the preferred usage throughout the decade of the 2000s, the majority of South Korean academic publications had switched to the term "Jeju language" by the early 2010s.[9] Since somewhat earlier, "Jeju language" has also been the term preferred in local law, such as the 2007 Language Act for the Preservation and Promotion of the Jeju Language (Korean: 제주어 보전 및 육성 조례 Jeju-eo bojeon mit yukseong jorye), and by non-governmental organizations working to preserve the language.[10] The only English-language monograph on Jeju, published in 2019, consistently refers to it as a language as well.[11] Among native speakers, the term Jeju-mal "Jeju speech" is most common.[2]

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